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TOPIC FREQUENCY

Arturo 22, Vermont 13, Raquel 11, Los Angeles 11, Pero 10, Don Fernando 6, Angela 6, La Gavia 5, Juan 5, Washington 4, Familia 4, Buenos Aires 4, Roberto 4, Luis 4, Ross Perot 4, Jorge 4, Annenberg Media 3, Argentina 3, America 3, Us 3,
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  LINKTV    Democracy Now    News/Business. Independent global news hour featuring news  
   headlines, in depth interviews and investigative reports....  

    November 1, 2013
    4:00 - 5:01pm PDT  

4:00pm
annenberg media ♪ by: ¿por qué tienes que ser tan desconfiado? no entiendo por qué todos le tienen tanta antipatía a jorge. porque queremos protegerte de ese don juan. no tienes derecho de decir que es un don juan. tú no lo sabes. entonces, ¿quién era la mujer que contestó cuando lo llamaste a su casa? unos amigos de nueva york que están en puerto rico. están alojados en su casa. ¿qué hay de malo en eso? ¿tú crees eso? por supuesto.
4:01pm
narrador: bienvenidos al episodio 47 de destinos. primero, algunas escenas de este episodio. mira, arturo, quería hablar contigo porque... pues, tengo unos problemas y pensé que como tú eres psiquiatra... te escucho. ¿de qué se trata? de mi mujer, gloria. en este episodio, no hay vocabulario nuevo. uds. no tienen que hacer nada más que ponerse cómodos y gozar de la historia porque en este episodio don fernando finalmente conoce a sus nietos. yo soy angela y éste es mi hermano, roberto. vengan. quiero verlos de cerca.
4:02pm
captioning of this program is made possible by the annenberg/cpb project and the geraldine r. dodge foundation. en el episodio previo, don fernando regresó a la gavia. en guadalajara, el médico le había dicho a mercedes que ya no había nada que hacer y que don fernando podía regresar a casa a pasar sus últimos días con su familia. mientras tanto, arturo y pancho, el padre de raquel conversaban durante el desayuno. era evidente que arturo le caía bien a pancho.
4:03pm
y la madre de raquel, a quien no le gustaba arturo le confesó a raquel sus temores. no es que no me gusta tu amigo arturo. es que... es que tengo miedo. raquel, tu papá y yo somos viejos. no tenemos a nadie. iyo no quiero que te vayas a la argentina! más tarde raquel, arturo, pancho y maría dieron un paseo y maría empezó a conocer a arturo. angela y roberto hablaron del apartamento y decidieron no venderlo por el momento. por la tarde, fueron a la gavia con arturo y raquel para conocer por fin a su abuelo paterno.
4:04pm
don fernando... quiero presentarle a sus nietos. angela: abuelo... yo soy angela y éste es mi hermano, roberto. vengan. quiero verlos de cerca. abuelo. abuelo, éste es nuestro tío, arturo el medio hermano de nuestro papá. don fernando: arturo... gracias por haber ayudado a raquel. te estoy muy agradecido. quien tiene que dar las gracias soy yo. gracias a ud. puedo conocer a mis sobrinos
4:05pm
y por fin conocer el destino de angel. dime, arturo... ¿rosario fue feliz? sí, lo fue. le he traído una foto de ella. está tan bella como el día en que nos casamos. mi madre... siempre sintió un gran afecto por angel. ahora, me doy cuenta que fue por ud. tengo una foto de angel cuando tenía veinte años.
4:06pm
supongo que uds. le habrán contado lo que pasó con angel. sí. mi hermano pedro me lo ha contado todo. tú te sientes culpable, ¿verdad? pero no hay ningún motivo para que te sientas así. angel sólo hizo lo que pensó que era necesario. ( tose ) papá, ¿estás bien? ¿que si estoy bien, hija mía? me estoy muriendo. vamos. vamos. mejor dejemos a mi hermano para que pueda descansar. sí, sí, vayan. déjenme solo un rato. necesito tiempo para reponerme.
4:07pm
disculpen, voy a dar un paseo para tomar un poco de aire fresco. ¿me permiten? sí, andá, no hay problemas. juan está pasando por un período difícil. bueno, estamos organizando todo para la cena de esta noche. tú te quedas, raquel, ¿no? pues, no lo sé. mis padres acaban de llegar de los angeles. ipues los invitamos a ellos también! gracias, pero no creo que acepten.
4:08pm
la gavia está muy lejos. además ésta es una reunión muy importante para uds. raquel, quédate sólo por esta noche. esta es una ocasión única. desde mañana podrás estar con tus padres todo el tiempo que quieras. está bien, los voy a llamar. aquí hay recámaras para todos. pueden quedarse hasta mañana. así no tendrán que viajar toda la noche. de acuerdo. voy a telefonear al hotel. antes de que hagas eso me gustaría dar un paseo. quisiera conocer la hacienda. además, tengo que hablar de algo muy importante con vos. bueno, si quieres. gracias. gracias. permiso. ¿podemos hablar un momento en la oficina? sí, está bien. voy a buscar a ramón.
4:09pm
no sé qué decir. carlos... es difícil enfrentar un problema como el que tiene gloria. tu error fue ocultarlo en lugar de pedir ayuda pero es comprensible. ¿y la oficina? pues, ya es demasiado tarde para salvar nuestra sucursal en miami. uds. tendrán que venirse a vivir a méxico. tal vez a gloria le haga bien. sí, tal vez le ayude. si está rodeada de una familia que la quiere que no la juzga... me siento muy agradecido por la comprensión y el apoyo de uds. pero, ¿qué vamos a hacer con los negocios? ¿y qué va a pasar con la gavia?
4:10pm
todavía no lo sabemos. lupe me contó una historia de cuando papá compró la gavia de como pensaba. no creo que podamos venderla. mercedes, tú dijiste que tenías una idea. mercedes: así es. no sé lo que les parecerá, pero es ésta. ¿no creen que el lugar es ideal para fundar un hogar para niños que no tienen familia? ¿un orfanato? algo así, para recoger a los niños huérfanos. una escuela para educarlos. necesitamos dinero para hacer reformas al edificio, contratar personal... podemos comenzar con unos pocos niños. y estoy segura de que por una causa así podremos conseguir dinero de instituciones o de personas. ¿me comprenden? sí, pero... es una gran responsabilidad. traer niños sin tener asegurados los fondos económicos
4:11pm
no es tan fácil. ( teléfono suena ) ¿bueno? sí, ¿cómo está ud., señora lópez estrada? sí, mi padre ya está de regreso. no, todavía no. claro, está descansando del viaje. no, justo ahorita estábamos platicando del tema. mire, lo mejor es que yo le llame cuando hablemos con mi padre. ¿de acuerdo? gracias. hasta pronto. yo creo que lo mejor será que no hablemos de esto hasta que hablemos con papá. estoy de acuerdo. yo también. ( teléfono suena ) ¿bueno? sí. ¿larga distancia? ¿angela castillo? sí, un momento. está aquí, voy a llamarla. le hablan a angela de puerto rico-- un tal jorge.
4:12pm
raquel... quiero hacerte una pregunta. ¿sí? bueno, no es fácil. luis... ah, sí. luis. luis ha regresado a los angeles. esta mañana recibí un mensaje de él. han pasado diez años y yo he cambiado. fue bueno verlo, pero fue bueno que también regresara a los angeles. ¿estás segura? segura. luis pertenece al pasado y yo no quiero volver al pasado. entonces, quiero hablarte del futuro.
4:13pm
quiero que regreses conmigo a buenos aires. ( suspira ) arturo, no es fácil. yo tengo una profesión y una carrera que quiero seguir. además, mi familia vive en los angeles mis padres. no puedo abandonarlos. pero, yo tengo buenos contactos en buenos aires. tengo amigos abogados. podrías establecerte perfectamente. en cuanto a tus padres, tengo una casa grande. podrían venir a vivir con nosotros. arturo, eres muy amable. pero, ¿crees sinceramente que podría sacar a mis padres de los angeles? es todo lo que conocen. no podrían adaptarse a otro país.
4:14pm
comprendo. además, también para mí empezar de nuevo, en un país extraño todo sería diferente-- las leyes, el sistema jurídico... no sería tan fácil como crees. bueno, entonces, sólo me queda un camino. arturo... con tal de estar cerca de ti
4:15pm
me iría a vivir a los angeles. pero, arturo... ipiensa en lo que eso significa! lo he pensado mucho. ¿qué tengo en buenos aires? no tengo familia... amigos muy pocos... sólo tengo mi trabajo. podría comenzar de nuevo en los angeles. claro, tengo que mejorar mi inglés. what seems your problem, miss jones? ( ríen ) pero, arturo... piensa en lo que eso significa. dejarías buenos aires, saldrías de tu país vivirías en un mundo muy diferente al tuyo. lo único que me importa es estar contigo. ( suspira ) no esperaba eso en mi vida. yo tampoco
4:16pm
pero hablo en serio. arturo, ¿no crees que deberíamos pensarlo mejor? deberíamos pero yo no quiero hacerlo. quiero actuar. no quiero que me dejes. ilupe! ilupita! ¿le pasa algo, don fernando? sí, que me voy a levantar. dame algo decente que ponerme.
4:17pm
está t lindo todo esto... disculpen si interrumpo. pues, arturo ¿podríamos platicar un momento? sí, claro, ¿cómo no? ¿no te molesta, raquel? es muy importante. claro que no. aprovecharé para llamar a mis padres. con permiso. sí. ¿nos sentamos ahí? sí. mira, arturo, quería hablar contigo porque... pues, tengo unos problemas y pensé que como tú eres psiquiatra... te escucho. ¿de qué se trata? de mi mujer, gloria. hace tiempo... años... empezó a jugar.
4:18pm
le gustaban los casinos, la ruleta, tú sabes. sí. pues, al principio no me pareció mal. a mí también me gustaba jugar un poco de vez en cuando como diversión. pero ella ya no lo hace por diversión. eso es. es como... como un vicio. empieza a jugar, y ya no para. ¿y han hablado de esto entre uds.? sí. dice que va a parar, promete, pero luego... lo hace otra vez. sí. se escapa. se va a san juan, a las bahamas y hasta que no pierde todo el dinero, no regresa. ¿qué crees que puedo hacer? hay que averiguar qué es lo que la lleva a hacer esto. seguramente necesita ayuda profesional. ¿cómo qué? bueno hay terapias individuales, hay terapias de grupo.
4:19pm
además si uds. van a estados unidos allí hay organizaciones que dan apoyo emocional. tengo que confesar que es difícil hablar de esto. es natural. vamos a caminar y si querés, seguimos hablando un poco más de esto. pero, ¿cómo averiguó jorge el teléfono de aquí? noo sé. ¿tú le diste el teléfono de pedro? iay, no! pero, ¿qué importa? habrá llamado al tío jaime. es que me extraña. ¿qué quería? hablar conmigo, saber cómo estoy. ¿por qué te extraña? angela, te conozco muy bien. además, ¿no te vas a enfadar si te lo digo?
4:20pm
no, no me voy a enfadar. te lo prometo. quería darme una buena noticia. ha encontrado una increíble oportudad un teatro viejo. queda en la calle de la cruz. ay, jorge está muy contento y quería contármelo. ¿nada más que contártelo? nada más. ¿por qué tienes que ser tan desconfiado? no entiendo por qué todos le tienen tanta antipatía a jorge. porque queremos protegerte de ese don juan. no tienes derecho de decir que es un don juan. tú no lo sabes. entonces, ¿quién era la mujer que contestó cuando lo llamaste a su casa? unos amigos de nueva york que están en puerto rico. están alojados en su casa. ¿qué hay de malo en eso? ¿tú crees eso? ipor supuesto!
4:21pm
y mira, terminemos con esta discusión. no hay nada malo en jorge. tiene una vocación y yo quiero ayudarlo. ¿no están en el hotel? entonces, por favor, quiero dejar un mensaje. dígales por favor que llamó su hija... que regresaré mañana y que llamaré más tarde. sí, sí. gracias. bueno. mis padres no están y les dejé un mensaje. esta noche voy a quedarme aquí en la gavia a cenar con la familia castillo. iqué emocionante el encuentro entre don fernando, angela, roberto y arturo!
4:22pm
¿recuerdan lo que le trajo arturo a don fernando? le traje una foto de angel. raquel: arturo trajo dos fotos: una de angel y otra de rosario. pero no pasamos mucho tiempo con don fernando. con la emoción, necesitaba descansar. entonces, arturo y yo salimos a dar un paseo. arturo quería dar un paseo para hablar conmigo sobre algo importante. yo sabía dos cosas. sabía que él quería hablar de nuestro futuro. y también sabía que él iba a pedirme que yo me fuera a vivir a la argentina.
4:23pm
cuando yo le dije que no podía que tenía mi profesión y mi familia en los angeles su respuesta realmente me sorprendió. arturo me dijo que se iría a vivir a los angeles. pues, claro, yo no esperaba eso. y le respondí que no era fácil lo que me proponía. pero ahora que lo pienso, sus razones son lógicas. ¿qué tengo en buenos aires? no tengo familia... amigos muy pocos... sólo tengo me trabajo. podría comenzar de nuevo en los angeles. seguramente vamos a hablar más de eso.
4:24pm
por el momento, no sé. me siento muy feliz, pero también un poco preocupada. salir de la argentina para irse a vivir a los angeles pues, no le será fácil a arturo. pero la idea me gusta mucho. sí, me gusta mucho. angela: no sé pero ya me siento muy bien aquí entre esta gente. es tu familia, angela. quieren que te sientas cómoda.
4:25pm
¿y dónde está lupita? mercedes: ipapá! ¿qué haces? ideberías estar en la cama! sí. posiblemente. fernando... escuchen. yo estaba en la cama... pensando. tengo grandes dudas. ¿dudas? sí, dudas. raquel, quiero que me hables de la investigación detalle por detalle. ¿realmente angela y roberto son mis nietos?
4:26pm
captioned by the caption center wgbh educational foundation
4:27pm
annenberg media ♪ for information about this and other annenberg media programs call 1-800-learner and visit us at www.learner.org. mujme casé, trabajé, unacrié tres hijos.ena. trabajé mucho y lo planeamos todo. todo menos la degeneración macular de los ojos. me ha robado mi vista y mi independencia. y esta enfermedad de los ojos será una epidemia
4:28pm
para cuando mis hijos alcancen mi edad. llame al 1-800-437-2423 para información gratis de la organización de investigaciones de la degeneración macular. tu palabra también es 'sipc'. ¿podría tenerla en otra oración, por favor? en el evento improbable de que su firma de corretaje cierre, sipc está ahí para protegerlo. s-i-p-k. ¿no conoce a sipc - securities investor protection corporation? no importa. se lo deletrearemos. visite nos www.sipc.org.
4:29pm
4:30pm
annenberg media ♪ public opinion plays an influential role. it represents the pulse of the nation, and there are strong ties between public opinion and how government and politicians behave. today, public opinion reflects an american paradox -- on the one hand, we express a common faith in our democracy. on the other, we express cynicism about government and politics. for those trying to assess and use public opinion, it is a daunting challenge. i'm renee poussaint.
4:31pm
whatever public opinion may be on an issue, it has become an important tool for citizens to influence the government. no one should underestimate the power of a poll or a letter-writing campaign or any avenue by which public officials can discover what americans are thinking. our voices are heard, even at the highest levels. [ sirens wail ] the shock waves from the terrorist attacks on september 11th rolled through american society. in addition to destroying thousands of lives and millions of dollars in property,
4:32pm
the terrorists had grounded the nation's airlines. because they had slipped past airport security, the saboteurs shook americans' faith in the safety of air travel. fearing more attks, the government shut down the airports and kept the skies empty of commercial traffic. for days, the only people walking the halls of the nation's airports were maintenance workers, marshals, and other security forces. america's economy had come to a screeching halt and congress was under pressure to get it moving again. for veteran republican pollster william mcinturff, the shock of septemberh caused historic shifts in american public opinion. right after the attack, 6 out of 10 americans said they were worried about flying. a month later, still almost a majority of americans said they were worried about flying. i think that people believed and the members of congress believed you had to take action to demonstrate something was being done
4:33pm
to make sure that people could fly and be safe. our challenge was, is to say we've got to do something to get this economy going. now this is where public opinion played a serious role. poussaint: what was the best way to convince americans to get back on the plane in order to jump-start the economy? democrats wanted to make 28,000 airport screeners federal employees, with training and pay equal to law enforcement officers. republicans did not want any more federal employees. they wanted to remove supervision of the screeners from the airline companies but leave the hiring and training in the hands of private contractors. congressman james oberstar, ranking democrat on the transportation and infrastructure committee, had long advocated upgrading the screening process at airports. they, the traveling public, see the lack of attentiveness.
4:34pm
they also know that these are minimum wage workers. they know that there was a huge turnover every two or three months in that screener workforce. poussaint: on october 11th, the senate passed an aviation security bill unanimously. checkpoint personnel at the 142 largest commercial airports would be federal employees, but without the right to strike. the white house was trying to tiptoe around the issue of federal workers. transportation secretary norman mineta told congress the president would accept federal workers if they could not strike and were exempt from civil service protections. but that infuriated conservative house republican leaders who saw the federalization of screeners as a boost to unions, who would organize them, and democrats, who would recruit them. mcinturff: the people who are in the leadership of our party were saying, you can't convince me that just because there are going to be federal union members
4:35pm
that they are really going to be safer at the airport -- that's not the standard. we have lots of stuff to do in terms of training, in terms of screening, but we can do all those things under a private system and do them better. poussaint: but while the leadership was digging in its heels, public opinion stood firm in favor of federalizing screeners. initial polls by the washington post and time/cnn found overwhelming public support r federal takeover of airport screening. because if you're a member of congress, from the tim you step off a plane when you go back to your congressional district, the people in the cabs, the people in the airport, the people you meet in town meetings, your donors, your friends, your neighbors, you know what they all say is, "hey, what are you going to do about..." fill in the blank. and when they get those kind of issues where everywhere they go and everyone they talk to is saying, "what are you going to do about x?" they come back and say, "wow, guess what, people are really riled up and they want us to do something." and guess what, congress acts. poussaint: despite the clamor for federalizing employees, the republican leadership of the house refused to budge.
4:36pm
they succeeded in passing a bill that would keep screeners in the private sector. and they did what was right. and it wasn't an issue that mr. delay or mr. armey pushed, it was an issue, i think, that members felt basic comfort with having a good combination of the federal government with its particular role and then the private sector, which does such a good job with its role. poussaint: after the house vote, the legislation went to a conference committee to resolve differences with the senate version. but the battle over making screeners federal employees created a stalemate, and the american public was still not returning to air travel, despite the president's order to increase the number of national guard troops patrolling terminal corridors. public opinion continued in favor of federalizing screeners. an abc/washington post poll found 55% in favor of a government takeover
4:37pm
while only 36% wanted private companies in charge. on capitol hill, the stalemate continued. clearly, after the vote that did not include a federalized screener workforce resulted in a reaction from the public, and that outcry of public opinion came into play as we went into conference with the senate. [ siren wails ] poussaint: public anxiety spiked again when an american airlines jet crashed after takeoff on the outskirts of new york city. although not linked to terrorism, it came amid news reports about more breaches in airport security. these events forced a compromise on capitol hill. so we did act, we got it done, buried our differences. we bring to this body a bill that will substantially enhance security
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and restore airline finances. poussaint: events and public pressure had moved both sides to agreement, compromising to make screeners federal employees, but only on an interim basis with an option to privatize them later. man: on this vote, the yeas are 410, the nays are 9, the conference report is agreed to. poussaint: the post-vote analysis pointed to a disconnect between republican party policy and public sentiment on this issue. oberstar: they were pursuing their own ideological bent and they misjudged what the public wanted. poussaint: on november 16th, president bush and a delegation from congress went to the airport for the signing ceremony. today, we take permanent and aggressive steps to improve the security of our airways. poussaint: and so, because of public opinion,
4:39pm
there was a dramatic shift by republicans from private to federal control of airport screeners. we are all aware that public officials, political candidates, and media outlets are generating a mountain of polls to gauge public opinion and that they use these polls to guide their actions. however, while polls can be a useful measure, poorly designed polls provide inaccurate and misleading findings. who is polled, what they're asked, and how they are asked a question can make all the difference. it is important for people who rely on polls to make judgments to understand the basics. every four years, there's a national contest -- the presidential elections -- who's up, whs down?
4:40pm
americans wonder. public opinion polls, a barometer of that national contest, help us keep track of the changing fortunes of candidates. ♪ out of sight ♪ ross perot will carry the fight ♪ ♪ something's gotta give, bush has gotta go ♪ ♪ the people want perot poussaint: polling, the modern day scientific method of measuring public opinion, first drew national attention with two colossal failures to predict presidential outcomes. in 1936, alf landon was proclaimed the winner and lost. and in 1948, harry truman was picked to lose and won. man: you've watched the debates -- learn anything new? did you decide? express your opinion tonight at debates.org. poussaint: what elements make up a good poll? carefully crafted questions arranged in a precise order.
4:41pm
and a sample that accurately reflects the makeup of a larger population -- that's the scientific part. analyzing and interpreting the results is more of an art. the ordinary person would think if you have 1,000 respondents, it would not be as accurate as if you have a million respondents. but the truth of the matter is, if you have 1,000 adults selected properly and the interviewing done well, then you're going to have a more accurate sample than if you just go out and interview a million people "at random." poussaint: during and after the 1992 presidential campaign, polling numbers were watched with close attention. a third party candidate, ross perot, threw his hat into the ring with george bush, the incumbent republican candidate, and bill clinton, the democratic nominee. americans wondered, would perot's candidacy succeed?
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and if not, would it cause a shift in the fortunes of the other two candidates by fragmenting the vote? i saw the perot movement as, initially, as being able only to kind of fire a shot across the bow of the status quo and shake things up. and nobody was more surprised than myself that for some period of time, 30 or 45 days, he had a chance to actually be president of this country. as you and i know, we are in deep voodoo. man: perot himself did not use any polling data at all for planning his behavior in the campaign. he considered that immoral. i mean, it was an issue campaign for him, it was a campaign of principle, and he thought that trying to shape your campaign with polls was not something he was going to do. if i could have one wish for the two parties, it would be to stop taking polls and go talk to people. washington doesn't listen. washington takes a 1,900-person poll sample
4:43pm
and makes a decision affecting 250 million people. poussaint: the league of women voters asked perot to participate in the presidential debate because he was polling at 10% or better of the projected vote -- he got a huge boost from that inclusion. but elation soon turned to sorrow when the votes were counted on election night. man: we asked on the exit polling, "would you have voted for ross perot if you thought he could win?" and it turned out he would have gotten 40% of the vote. it's extraordinary. but because people discounted it and they didn't believe he had a chance of winning, he ended up getting 19% of the vote. poussaint: perot and the party he helped form, united we stand, did not give up. they started planning for the 1996 presidential campaign. their strategy included buying national airtime on nbc
4:44pm
for a series of infomercials. we're going to vote on 17 vital issues that face our country and we will send the results directly to your congressmen and senators so that they can know exactly how you feel about government reform. poussaint: during the broadcast, ross perot asked viewers to respond to a poll he had placed in tv guide. the poll questions mirrored his agenda -- cutting federal spending, reducing the federal debt, a presidential line item veto, and shutting out special interest groups. 1.4 million americans responded to this survey. the polling community had nothing but harsh words for the methods used to create this poll. hart: his questions were biased, they were loaded to get certain answers. secondly, he put this questionnaire in tv guide,
4:45pm
which is fine, i suppose, as a place to go, but that's not a cross-section of america, and it's self-selecting who sends this in. it's not the fact that a million people answered, it's the fact that you don't have any sample at all. poussaint: perot, feeling the heat from the polling community, yet still wanting legitimate polling results on these questions, sought out gordon black, president of gordon black corporation, to re-administer the poll. black: he approached me through his son-in-law to ask us if we would be willing to poll for him. my condition was that we had to rewrite the questions to be real polling questions. poussaint: perot agreed to all of black's conditions. how did the black corporation poll differ from the tv guide poll? poussaint: the black poll asked,
4:46pm
"which of the following deficit reduction approaches would you prefer?" a. a program that relies entirely on tax increases with no spending cuts? b. a program that requires $1 of spending cuts for every $1 of tax increases? or c. a program that requires at least $2 of spending cuts for every $1 of tax increases? the results of the black poll, arrived at by using a representative sample, and the tv guide poll differed. on the question about making bigger federal spending cuts, 97% of the respondents answered yes to the tv guide poll question. on the black poll, 5% favored a tax increase with no spending cuts, 27% favored a dollar-for-dollar cut on taxing and spending, and 60% favored a $2 cut in taxes
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for every $1 of spending cuts. it's easy to see from this example that the black poll had more depth and gave a more precise measure of opinion than did the tv guide poll. perot: if we simply keep asking the question, "is it right or wrong?" then we can get our country back on the track. poussaint: knowing something about good polling practices makes us appreciate that getting reliable polling results is trickier than it looks. it's time to pick up a shovel and clean out the barn. let's get to work -- it will be tough, but it will be fun. although it is evident that public officials and political candidates use polls to guide their actions, that does not mean that their decision-making is guided solely by poll results. in assessing public opinion, politicians use polls as only one form of feedback.
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they also talk with their constituents, they read their mail, listen to interest groups, they interpret election results, and they rely on their own political instincts and values. man: you're looking at the house chamber in the vermont statehouse and what is once again an extraordinary turnout. poussaint: it was an issue that brought more people to vermont's state capitol than any other in memory. i've been working here for 20 years, and there's never been an issue like this one. poussaint: david moats won a pulitzer prize for his editorials in vermont's rutland herald about the state's passage of a so-called "civil unions bill." it was the most volatile and heated and divisive issue i've ever covered. poussaint: the civil unions legislation was passed by vermont's general assembly in the spring of 2000. woman: well, there you go. poussaint: it gave this state the distinction of becoming
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the first to give gay and lesbian couples the same legal rights as married couples. and by the end of today, we will be, believe it or not, legally connected to each other. well, civil unions is about sex, morality, marriage. it's about how society organizes itself. it's about equal rights. it's about the dignity of people and tolerance. poussaint: and it's also about public opinion and the role it played or perhaps didn't play in decision-making by vermont lawmakers. man: they weren't listening, they didn't want to listen. poussaint: reverend craig bensen was and is an ardent opponent of civil unions. he says there's absolutely no doubt that the majority of vermont's electorate opposed civil unions. the majority opposed both same-sex marriage, civil unions,
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and comprehensive domestic benefits, as high as 3-to-1 against, specifically when polled in the spring of 2000 at the vermont town meetings. poussaint: supporters of civil unions dispute that 3-to-1 margin of opposition, but they still concede that the majority of vermont voters did not want to see civil unions become law. talk to the people. a majority of them, according to the polls, do not support marriage for homosexuals. poussaint: public hearings were overflowing, and broadcast live by vermont public television, rallies were huge, and a letter-writing campaign jammed the mailboxes of legislators. there is no doubt that lawmakers knew they were treading in dangerous political waters. i give my own personal poll of what the people, hundreds and hundreds, are saying and feeling about the homosexual marriage debate
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and of how upset they are with their elected officials and how they will put them out of office if they vote yes. poussaint: there's no doubt that mark macdonald was fighting a strong current of public opinion. macdonald: i'm a history teacher, and all change that is worth doing has opposition. poussaint: these days, when mark macdonald isn't teaching middle school civics and history, he's tending to his small cattle farm in orange county, vermont. fading election signs spotlight a time when macdonald wore a third hat, that of vermont state senator. he was one of the legislators who voted to pass the civil unions bill, despite the public will. macdonald: i don't know how you do something that's against what you think is right and your conscience and your oath of office and then look people in the eye and say,
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"i did the wrong thing because you asked me to." poussaint: macdonald says vermont's supreme court virtually forced the legislature to pass civil unions. the supreme court ruled that the current statute, which provided a host of benefits and privileges for married people, was unconstitutional because it denied the same benefits and privileges to others who were willing to make the same commitment. poussaint: regardless of the supreme court ruling, many vermont voters were outraged when the civil unions bill was enacted into law. their own districts were 2-to-1 opposed to it, and they still would say, "i don't care what my people are saying about this." moats: public opinion shifts with the wind. it can be one thing one day and one thing the next. we elect leaders to think about what the right course is, to consider the public opinion, take it into account, and consider the constitution.
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i think depending upon the significance of the issue, there is an expectation in the public mind that there are some areas where the representative is free to use their best judgment, and there are some areas where the representative had best pay very careful attention to who they're representing. poussaint: reaction to passage of civil unions was immediate. a grassroots campaign sprang up almost overnight. people expressed their contempt during rallies and took to the streets to show their disapproval. "take back vermont" signs were everywhere, and at election time, civil unions became the hot button issue. a lot of legislators who supported civil unions lost their seats -- it was a dozen or 15 house members lost their seats because they voted for civil unions, and so the house went republican. it had been democratic, it went republican. one democratic senator lost his seat, but the senate retained its democratic majority. poussaint: that single senator who lost his seat
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was mark macdonald. moats: he knew it would be dangerous for his re-election if he voted for it. i believe the democrats told him that, "we have enough votes, you can vote against it if you think you need to to save your seat," but he decided his conscience wouldn't allow him to do that. he voted for civil unions and lost his seat. so he's one of those profiles in courage that people talk about. courage was only something for a few of the folks who voted. defiance was the message that usually came across. poussaint: so depending on who you talk to, mark macdonald was either a courageous legislator or a lawmaker who didn't listen to public opinion. by voting macdonald and his colleagues out of office, civil unions' opponents say they reacted the only way they could. that was the only option we were given in the process that we have, because vermont does not have a referendum
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or a popular-vote way of coming at issues. poussaint: so while public opinion may not have tipped the scales in the legislative debate over civil unions, in the general election, it was the only thing that mattered. no democratic government can afford to simply ignore public opinion, and political leaders in a democracy who disregard it do so at their peril. the term for those who too often ignore public opinion might be "former leaders." we know what we want the government to do. what's the problem? why doesn't it simply follow the public will? the problem is, there isn't one public, there are many. people seldom think alike or even about the same things. in this vast and varied nation, differences in religion, education, region, class, gender, race, and ethnicity
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produce a broad spectrum of views about the political world. even when people have similar backgrounds, they often have different opinions. we wish everyone would just think like us, but they don't. as a wise old saying puts it, "never talk politics with someone you just met." for those trying to implement the public will, this great diversity of opinion makes it difficult to even define public opinion -- which public are we talking about? of course, none of this stops political leaders from engaging in a constant search for public opinion, employing ever more sophisticated and expensive methods. the truth seems to be that this search is like the quest for the holy grail. as soon as sometng that can be called public opinion is identified, it changes. for "democracy in america," i'm renee poussaint.
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